Wednesday, August 24, 2016


UPDATE 2

I have a lot of facial swelling this morning
I have taken Clindamycin for it so that may help
But if it is no better tomorrow morning I will have to go into hospital and be put on a Vancomycin drip
I have been through all this before so I now expect to be up and running again early next week

UPDATE

I had my surgical procedure today and it was as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I went to a good public hospital so I was treated as well as they reasonably could in the circumstances.I ended up with a piece the size of a quarter chopped out of my right cheek near my  nose. Fortunately my plastic surgeon is brilliant and managed to put my face back together again.  I am now out of hospital but am experiencing some pain and discomfort.  So I would  not be clear enough in mind to attempt much in the way of blogging today

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


NOTE:  I am going into hospital later today for a rather complex procedure -- so I may not be blogging for a couple of days -- JR

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Dozens of Fascists yell, push and SPIT on Donald Trump donors as nominee attends private fundraiser in Minneapolis

Largely peaceful protests turned ugly after nightfall as masked demonstrators arrived and confronted donors trying to leave
They also jumped on Trump's motorcade and punched the car's windows

Demonstrations turned nasty at a private Donald Trump fundraiser in Minneapolis on Friday as masked activists pushed and spit on donors attending the event.

Police were forced to push crowds back as scenes turned ugly, with demonstrators blocking Trump's motorcade as it left the building, hitting the windows and jumping on the hood of one SUV.

Among the peaceful demonstrators were those from Minneapolis's large Somali community, angered by Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Jaylani Hussein, director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, criticized Trump for 'anti-Muslim and anti-Somali rhetoric.'

Giselda Gutierrez, a demonstrator from the Minnesota Immigrants Rights Action Committee, also hit out at Trump, telling the Star Tribune that his anti-immigrant stance is 'dangerous for our country'.

The Republican nominee was in town to try and bolster his war chest accumulated from the state, having raised just $110,000 so far compared to Clinton's $2million.

Suggested donations for couples attending the event ranged between $1,000 and $100,000, though it is not clear how many people attended, or how much was raised.

Trump, who was making his first visit to Minnesota on the campaign trail, did not appear or speak in public at the event.

Some of his remarks were broadcast on streaming app Periscope from inside. He said: 'If I could win a state like Minnesota, the path is a whole different thing. 'It becomes a much, much different race. We’re going to give it our ­greatest shot.'

While many prominent Minnesota Republicans stayed away from the event, former congresswoman Michele Bachmann did attend, and had harsh words for the demonstrators.

She told Breitbart: 'The deranged left was on hand at the Trump event last night in Minneapolis looking for pre-planned, predictably choreographed trouble.

'They were swearing at attendees as we arrived, spitting at whomever they could reach. They weren’t protesting as much as they were looking to beat people up.

'After Donald Trump had our wildly enthusiastic crowd riled up and on our feet with multiple standing ovations, the crowd tried leaving the building.

'Police officers told us protesters had physically attacked people as they were leaving the building and we were instructed to leave through alternative exits.'

SOURCE

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Prominent Conservative Joins Team Trump

Tea Party firebrand Michele Bachmann says she is advising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on foreign policy. The former Minnesota House representative attended a fundraiser in the state for Trump on Saturday, where she revealed to the press that she has his ear on foreign policy.

“He also recognizes there is a threat around the world, not just here in Minnesota, of radical Islam,” she said, according to MPR. “I wish our President Obama also understood the threat of radical Islam and took it seriously.”

“He’s a common-sense guy, not into political correctness,” Bachmann added, according to the Star Tribune.

Bachmann is already part of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, providing “support” to Trump on “issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America.”

SOURCE

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Liberal Governor Praises Donald Trump

While President Obama played golf this week, Donald Trump went down to Baton Rouge. Louisiana to help with the recovery, offering moral support and an 18 wheeler full of supplies. The state's liberal governor took notice, and it seems he's changed his tune on Trump:

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Sunday that Donald Trump has helped draw attention to recovery efforts after the recent devastating floods in his state.

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," the governor downplayed critical remarks he made before the Republican presidential nominee visited his state.

"I didn't dismiss his trip as a photo-op. Before he came down, I said we welcome him here, we want him to be helpful," Edwards said. "And we hope that it doesn't turn into a mere photo-op."

Edwards said Trump's visit to the state was positive for Louisiana.

SOURCE

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Trump is appeals to Black Voters

For the fourth straight rally, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made an overt appeal to black voters, promising to make the Republican Party "inclusive" and the "home" of African-Americans moving forward.

Trump, who was speaking in Virginia, a key swing state that voted for President Obama twice, made the renewed pitch a day after vowing to win more than 95 percent of the African-American vote in 2020 after his first term in the White House. He also railed against the "bigotry" exhibited by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arguing that she uses African-Americans for their vote and nothing more.

"The GOP is the party of Lincoln, and I want our party to be the home of the African-American vote once again," Trump told his supporters. "I want an inclusive country, and I want an inclusive party.

"We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton, who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future. We've seen what the Democratic policies have done in cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Chicago," Trump continued, adding that he wants upward mobility for African-Americans in poor communities.

SOURCE

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Donald Trump Should Go for the Black Vote—NOW!

If you want proof of the validity of those infamous nicknames for our two major political parties-- the Evil Party and the Stupid Party—look no further than the way the Stupid Party (i.e. the GOP) leaves minority votes on the table year after year.

This is particularly true of the African-American community, whose lot seems to get worse and worse the more liberal the administration. And yet the Republicans do nothing to attract their support, especially on a national level, beyond the slightest lip service. An excuse often given is that Repubs don't want to engage in execrable identity politics, an idealistic view that may be intellectually defensible, but does little if you would like to see real-world change.

Meanwhile, under Obama, the situation of African-Americans has become increasingly miserable with disastrous unemployment numbers, the further decimation of the black family, and a tragic growing murder epidemic in many of their neighborhoods mixed with a monumentally self-destructive war on cops. Accompanying all this has been the rise of #blacklivesmatter, a noxious reworking of the separatist black power movements of the sixties and seventies with, like those earlier groups, less than zero to offer the actual lives of the people it purports to be helping and plenty to hurt them, as we have seen just this weekend in Milwaukee.

At the outset of his campaign I had hopes Donald Trump, in his unconventionality, might reverse this pattern, but other than making blustering pronouncements that large numbers of African-Americans and Latinos actually would be voting for him (when polls say they're not), he has done hardly anything at all.

I have a suggestion for Donald. Change that—now!

You have several reasons to do it. A few are: 1. The obvious, you might get a few votes. 2. It undercuts the MSM meme that you are a bigot. (Yes, they won't stop, but so what?) 3. It will impress independent voters that you are a serious person out to solve one of the country's most important problems and not just the blowhard celebrity portrayed by that same media 4. It will make Democrats nervous (even though they will claim they're not.). 5. It puts you on offense. You're a sports fan.  You know why that's important and... 6. It's genuinely a good thing to do.

Okay, but how?

First, have a plan. The economic speech in Detroit was an excellent start but something more specific to this assignment is needed. Famed quarterback and Republican politician Jack Kemp came up with an approach decades ago that, though Rand Paul has talked about it and Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes wrote a book about it timed to come out for the election, fortunately for Trump, has only barely been tried.

In essence, Kemp's idea was to make disadvantaged communities tax-free opportunity zones encouraging entrepreneurship and outside investment and putting people to work. This would then take those same people off welfare and food stamps and start making them feel better about themselves. Who knows? Real change could follow. It's certainly worth a try. The old liberal methods, dating back to LBJ, have been a demonstrable failure.

There are a million permutations to Kemp's approach, of course, but they are not important to this discussion.  What should be important is this sounds like an idea Donald Trump, of all people, is ideally placed to get behind and encourage, to make an integral part of his campaign.

If he  does.... if you do, Donald.... you have to go directly into the black communities to promote it.  Take Dr. Carson and Tim Scott with you—the South Carolina senator hasn't been your fan, but I bet a phone call on this idea would turn him around in a second—plus any other of those bravest of Americans known as black conservatives who would want to come.

It's hard to say what's prevented Trump from making a move like this so far. Inertia? Habit? A fear of alienating his supporters?

I often think one of Trump's problems is he underestimates his supporters. Even though he professes to despise the media, on some level he buys their view of the people backing him as angry white people. I have spent a fair amount of time among these supporters at rallies from Iowa to New Hampshire and back to California. Perhaps I'm blind, but I didn't get one inkling of racism from a single person. Nor did I see all that much anger.

By going into black communities Trump wouldn't be alienating his supporters.  He'd be honoring them.

SOURCE

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- covering most of his usual themes

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Monday, August 22, 2016


Trump Beginning To Meet Viguerie’s Foolproof Test

Movement conservatives are now in charge of the Trump campaign

Richard Viguerie

“Who you walk with tells me a lot about who you are” is an aphorism that I have long applied as a foolproof test of whether a candidate or elected official is going to govern as a conservative. This might be seen as a Richard Viguerie companion or corollary to another one of my favorite rules of politics – personnel is policy.

When Ronald Reagan was running for President every time I saw him, and I saw him quite a bit, he was surrounded by people I knew from conservative politics: Senator Paul Laxalt, Jeff Bell, Lyn Nofziger, Marty Anderson, Dick Allen, Judge Clark, Ed Meese, etc.

This gave me confidence that when Reagan was elected he would look to the conservatives with whom he had surrounded himself to staff his White House, and the Cabinet and sub-cabinet appointments in his Administration.

And, with a few notable exceptions, that’s what he did.

On the other hand, when I looked at Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole, or both Bushes, what I saw were lobbyists, industry insiders, professional political operatives and other “rented strangers” as columnist George F. Will once called those of the professional political class.

So when we look at who Hillary Clinton walks with; Leftwing financier George Soros, Muslim Brotherhood-connected aide Huma Abedin, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and other radical Leftists we know where she is going to lead the country.

But what of Donald Trump?

Trump has spent the past three decades in the company of the show business stars, sports legends, and pop culture figures that promote his business ventures.

He’s readily admitted that, as part of his business strategy, he’s supported both political parties and their candidates – he even donated to Hillary Clinton in one of her past campaigns.

However, since he began to the think about running for President, and once he announced, he has walked mostly with people from the right-of-center, from Senator Jeff Sessions, to Jerry Falwell, Jr., to conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, to his National Co-Chairman Sam Clovis and economic advisors Steve Moore and Larry Kudlow, Trump’s major supporters and many of his inner circle have been from the conservative movement.

Now, the hiring of Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager and Steve Bannon as chief executive of the campaign brought two more movement conservatives into the leadership of Trump’s campaign.

Donald Trump’s recent economic speech, his national security speech and his law and order speech in Wisconsin were full of sound conservative policy prescriptions and were reflective of a strong conservative governing philosophy.

Most importantly, through the ups and downs of his campaign, contrary to the conventional wisdom espoused by the DC political class and the establishment media, Trump has not “moved to the center,” but marched steadily to the right.

With Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon at the top of the campaign, Mike Pence as Vice President and Senator Jeff Sessions at Donald Trump’s side, the Trump campaign is shaping up to be the most ideological campaign since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter.

Does this mean that Donald Trump, the secular businessman, has suddenly erased his glitzy past – of course not. Trump is still Trump with all that comes with that.

However, conservatives can look at Donald Trump’s campaign and draw more and more assurance that through the application of Viguerie’s Foolproof Test and its corollary Donald Trump is going to govern as a conservative, and that is, in the end, exactly what we conservatives want from this election

SOURCE

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Trump and Blacks

Thomas Sowell

Who would have thought that Donald Trump, of all people, would be addressing the fact that the black community suffers the most from a breakdown of law and order? But sanity on racial issues is sufficiently rare that it must be welcomed, from whatever source it comes.

When establishment Republicans have addressed the problems of blacks at all, it has too often been in terms of what earmarked benefits can be offered in exchange for their votes. And there was very little that Republicans could offer to compete with the Democrats' whole universe of welfare state earmarks.

Law and order, however, is not an earmarked benefit for any special group. It is a policy for all that is especially needed by law-abiding blacks, who are the principal victims of those who are not law-abiding.

Education is another area where something that is needed by all segments of the population is especially needed by blacks and other low-income minorities. In other words, here again there is no need for a divisive policy of earmarked benefits, in order to attract new voters into a “big tent.”

No matter what policy Republicans follow, they are not going to win a majority of the black votes this year, nor perhaps even this decade.

Nor is that necessary. Just an erosion of the Democrats' monopoly of the black votes can benefit both Republicans and the black community, who are currently taken for granted by the Democrats. Republicans may also get more white votes if they are no longer seen by some as racists.

Education is a slam dunk issue for Republicans trying to appeal to black parents with school-age children, as distinguished from trying to appeal to all black voters, as if all blacks are the same.

Education is an issue with little, if any, down side for the Republicans, because the teachers' unions are the single biggest obstacle to black youngsters getting a decent education — and among the biggest donors to the Democrats.

Among the few signs of educational success for low-income minority children in the public schools are the KIPP and Success Academy charter schools. But teachers' unions are bitterly opposed to increases in the number of such schools, and Democrats do what the teachers' unions want, because money talks.

As long as blacks vote automatically for Democrats, while the teachers' unions insist on getting their money’s worth, it is all but inevitable that the education of black children will be sacrificed in the public schools, wherever Democrats are in control.

Republicans have nothing to lose by taking on the teachers' unions, which donate more than 90 percent of their money to Democrats. Again, Republicans may not win a majority of the votes of even those parents who have children in the public schools. But that is where any inroads into the black vote can begin.

Here, as elsewhere, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. That step should include appeals not only to black parents with children in successful charter schools, but also the larger number of black parents on waiting lists for charter schools, and anyone else in the black community who understands that a good education is the key for the next generation to advance.

The black vote has not always been a monopoly of the Democrats. From the time of Abraham Lincoln to that of President Herbert Hoover the black vote was Republican. Even in the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the black vote was one of the few that went to President Hoover in 1932.

Even after President Franklin D. Roosevelt won over black voters in FDR’s 1936 landslide, Republicans continued to get a significant share of the black vote over the next 20 years. But not in recent elections.

Someone on CNN said that if Trump were serious about wanting the black vote, he would address groups like the NAACP. That was in fact a big mistake that even President Reagan made.

Blacks voters are not the property of the NAACP, and they need to be addressed directly as individuals, over the heads of special interest organizations that have led blacks into the blind alley of being a voting bloc that has been taken for granted far too long.

Whether other Republicans will re-think their approach to attracting minority voters is a big unanswered question.

SOURCE

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Child Rape Case Inspires Lawmaker to Fight Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City Policy

An illegal immigrant living in Philadelphia has been charged with raping a child, spurring opponents of the city’s “sanctuary” policy to use his arrest to bolster their argument that such practices leave dangerous criminals on the streets.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Martina White, a Republican, says the alleged rapist, Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa, a 45-year-old Honduran national, avoided deportation only because of Philadelphia’s policy not to comply with most immigration-related requests from the federal government.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, White said she hopes the incident will inspire bipartisan support for her bid to hold sanctuary cities accountable for crimes committed by residents who are living in those municipalities illegally.

“There is a lot of support for the state of Pennsylvania to make sure sanctuary city policies do not continue, and that they do not spread,” White said, adding:

These policies are dangerous. Philadelphia, and cities like it, are basically encouraging illegal immigrant criminals to come there. And unfortunately, we are seeing that these policies impact citizens’ lives. These are very, very sad circumstances and repercussions from a flawed policy.

White’s bill would make any sanctuary city in Pennsylvania liable for “damages”—such as injury to a person or property—caused by illegal residents who have been convicted of a crime.

White introduced the bill in April in Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled House, and she says the legislation will get a committee vote in September. She expects the bill, which has 41 co-sponsors, including two Democrats, to be approved by the House.

Inspired to help address the costs of higher education and health care, White, 28, was elected in 2015 to represent Pennsylvania’s 170th district. A financial adviser, she is a lifelong resident of Northeast Philadelphia.

White’s push to punish sanctuary cities comes at a time of division over Philadelphia’s policy, which opponents consider to be one of the most extreme in the country.

Under the policy, implemented by Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, after he took office in January, the city in most circumstances does not respond to requests from federal immigration authorities to be notified of the release of an illegal immigrant from custody.

Michael Nutter, the city’s former Democratic mayor, had ended his own sanctuary policy before leaving office, but Kenney decided to quickly change course.

Now, Philadelphia will satisfy immigration requests only if the person in custody was convicted of a first- or second-degree felony involving violence. The policy requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal authority in charge of deportations, to present a judicial warrant—the equivalent of an arrest warrant—for cases in which it seeks compliance from the city.

According to ICE, Philadelphia chose not to honor an earlier detainer request in 2015 against Aguirre-Ochoa after the dismissal of criminal charges of domestic aggravated assault.

A detainer is a request from ICE asking local law authorities to hold immigrant detainees it suspects of being in the country illegally for up to 48 hours after they were scheduled for release from jail.

Aguirre-Ochoa remained free until his arrest July 26 in the child rape case, when he was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and related offenses.

ICE has filed another detainer with Philadelphia, requesting Aguirre-Ochoa be transferred to the custody of federal immigration authorities after his case is resolved.

The case has drawn the attention of Pennsylvania’s national representatives, including Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, who is up for re-election.

In July, Senate Democrats blocked Toomey’s bill to strip congressional funding from sanctuary cities. Since the rape case, he has urged Kenney to repeal Philadelphia’s sanctuary policy.

Toomey’s Democratic opponent, Katie McGinty, also called on Kenney to increase his cooperation with ICE.

More HERE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Sunday, August 21, 2016


People like people  -- but high IQ people need their solitude

The above heading encapsulates the findings of a paper from earlier this year by Li & Kanazawa.  Man is a social animal so the finding that people are happier if they have a lot of contact with friends is no surprise.  But why are high IQ people different?  I personally certainly fit the pattern described.  In a typical week I would see the lady in my life for an evening twice a week but have no other social contact in that week.  Since he lives in the same building as I do, my son drops in for a brief chat every few days but that is it.  I do however go to family birthdays and there are a few of them.

So can I offer an explanation of why high IQ people are so anti-social?  The easy answer is that high IQ people find normal people boring, and there is some truth in that.  But, on the other hand, people at all intelligence levels tend to choose their friends from people around their own IQ level.  So a high IQ  person would normally have pretty bright friends.  So boredom would be unlikely to be the crucial factor.

I am afraid that I can offer no general explanation but I note that in my own case, I consider my self-chosen "work" of keeping up with the politics of 3 countries -- the USA, the UK and Australia -- to be pretty engrossing and I need most of my time for that.  From my POV, I haven't got the time for a lot of socializing.  People do to a degree socialize when they have got nothing else to do.  I am rarely in that situation.

I do have both a brother and a son who see things very much as I do.  But that is not as good a thing as some might imagine.  Because we see eye to eye we basically  have nothing to say to one another.  Anything we say would just be a  repetition of something that the other believes. So there is surprising complexity in the way we high IQ people  behave.

There is an extended discussion of the matter here.  Information on the sample used is here


Country roads, take me home… to my friends: How intelligence, population density, and friendship affect modern happiness

Norman P. Li & Satoshi Kanazawa

Abstract

We propose the savanna theory of happiness, which suggests that it is not only the current consequences of a given situation but also its ancestral consequences that affect individuals’ life satisfaction and explains why such influences of ancestral consequences might interact with intelligence. We choose two varied factors that characterize basic differences between ancestral and modern life – population density and frequency of socialization with friends – as empirical test cases. As predicted by the theory, population density is negatively, and frequency of socialization with friends is positively, associated with life satisfaction. More importantly, the main associations of life satisfaction with population density and socialization with friends significantly interact with intelligence, and, in the latter case, the main association is reversed among the extremely intelligent. More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends. This study highlights the utility of incorporating evolutionary perspectives in the study of subjective well-being.

SOURCE

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It's the Ideology, Stupid

Some advice for Trump in taking on not just Clinton, but her philosophy

Arnold Ahlert

“Mr. Trump’s advisers and his family want the candidate to deliver a consistent message making the case for change. They’d like him to be disciplined. They want him to focus on growing the economy and raising incomes and fighting terrorism.” —from The Wall Street Journal

“His advisers are still convinced of the basic potency of a sales pitch about economic growth and a shake-up in Washington…"—from The New York Times

Note to Donald Trump, his advisers and the self-aggrandizing media "experts” who purport to be helping him:

It’s the ideology, stupid.

With acknowledgements to James Carville for the paraphrasing, it’s time to wise up. There is no “focus” or “sales pitch” that can shake the American public out of the doldrums that attach themselves to a choice between two highly flawed presidential candidates.

Unless. Unless that focus and sales pitch goes to the heart of what ails the nation. On Monday, following two nights of rioting, burning, looting and assaults on police and white people by black American mobs in Milwaukee — mobs energized by a completely legitimate shooting of an armed black thug by a black police officer, captured on camera —Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who by the way is black, provided a stellar example of illuminating the roots of the problem:

“The Milwaukee riots should be the last time the policies of liberal Democrats are held up as anything other than misery-inducing, divisive, exploitative and racist manipulation of the urban populations. Unfortunately they won’t. As Sheriff of Milwaukee County, I am furious that the progressive left has put my citizens in harm’s way and that I had to send my officers into cauldrons of anarchy and hatred that were created by the left.”
This spot-on analysis moves seamlessly to other arenas. Thus a sales pitch about economic growth becomes the idea that the “progressive” Left, led by Barack Obama, has produced the weakest recovery of the post-WWII era, even as the national debt skyrocketed from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office, to $19.4 trillion today.

A shakeup in Washington? Elitist insiders in both parties embrace progressive ideology’s global ambitions of amnesty for millions of illegals, massive amounts of immigration — including more Syrian “refugees” than the entire EU took in — and multi-nation trade deals negotiated in top secret. Progressives favor the practically unlimited expansion of H-1B visas demanded by tech oligarchs, who prefer employing foreign workers that undercut American wage-earners.

Foreign affairs? It is progressive ideology, courtesy of Obama and Hillary Clinton, that gave the world an “Arab Spring” enabling the rise and expansion of the Islamic State, the slaughter of Christians at genocidal levels, and the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. Progressive ideology has also put Iran on a glide path to nuclear weaponry, fueled Russian thug Vladimir Putin’s ambitions for recreating a Soviet Empire, and given the Chinese every reason to believe their expansionism in the South China Sea will remain unchecked. And Obama’s preposterous, progressive-inspired promise to “degrade” the Islamic State has given them extended time to recruit and propagandize with impunity, leading directly to the atrocities in, among numerous other places, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino and Orlando.

The progressive-inspired destruction of the nation’s moral fabric? “The failed progressive urban policy causes anger and resentment in people that simmers below the surface,” Clarke writes. “The officer-involved-shooting was simply a catalyst that ignited the already volatile mixture of inescapable poverty, failing K-12 public schools, dysfunctional lifestyle choices like father absent homes, gang involvement, drug/alcohol abuse and massive unemployment.”

Like Trump must do, Clarke makes it clear who’s to blame. “Here are the facts: Milwaukee is run by progressive Democrats,” he explains. “Their decades-long Democrat regime has done nothing to reduce these urban pathologies, in fact, their strategies have exacerbated the situation by expanding the welfare state.”

Clarke is talking about Milwaukee, yet that same progressive failure is replicated in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit and countless other urban wastelands where Democrats have maintained uncontested power for decades. Decades of societal dysfunction engendered by a progressive utopian vision known as the “Great Society” and the massive expansion of the integrity- and incentive-sapping welfare state it inflicted on the nation. Moreover, the progressive effort to promote the equality of “lifestyle choices,” decimated the nuclear family to the point where nearly three out of four black American children and more than half of all children delivered by women under 30 are born out of wedlock.

Trump must remind Americans that out-of-wedlock births spawn far higher levels of poverty and increasing levels of economic inequality progressives bemoan — even as they are the chief enablers of it.

Delivering a consistent message making the case for change? How about reminding Americans that Obama’s and Clinton’s progressive version of change — as in the fundamental transformation of an “inherently flawed” nation — has inflicted on America a virulent expansion of Us vs. Them identity politics, playing people off each other on the basis of race, religion, gender and class for the primary purpose of maintaining power? How about reminding Americans that Hope and Change™ has given rise to countless grievance groups including La Raza, the New Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter, CAIR, ISNA, the Rainbow Mafia, etc., all of whom are determined to use government as a vehicle for punishing their enemies and rewarding their friends?

Trump should also remind Americans that progressive ideology has corrupted government to the point where the IRS can single out conservative groups for extra scrutiny, while denying them a voice in the political process. That the U.S. attorney general can meet with the husband of an investigation subject on an airport tarmac with no repercussions. That the FBI can take “testimony” from Hillary Clinton without recording it, or putting her under oath — and then subsequently defend her by insisting a former secretary of state wasn’t “sophisticated” enough to understand classified email markings. And that a progressive-dominated Supreme Court will eviscerate the Constitution, with one “living document” ruling after another.

It is one thing to criticize Hillary Clinton per se. It is quite another to consistently tie her to a bankrupt ideology in all its despicable, hypocritical and repressive permutations. His two recent speeches on terror and law and order were a good start. Hopefully he’ll continue hammering the messenger and the message. And hopefully he’ll accept the reality he must do so in the face of a hostile and corrupt media, a Democrat Party willing to win by any means necessary, and a segment of establishment Republicans who would sell out their base to maintain their own elitist status quo.

“There’s only one answer,” Clarke maintains, “which is for the citizens of America to expose and heap scorn on this lying and dangerous triad of big government, liberal mainstream media, and the lost souls of the urban ghettos both these institutions feed upon for their power.”

Make no mistake: Progressive ideology cannot prosper without sufficient numbers of lost souls mired in human misery and ignorance. Even worse, its adherents believe caring is all that’s required to justify the consistently catastrophic results of their “enlightened” machinations.

Tie it all together, Mr. Trump. It just might win you the White House.

SOURCE

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Obamacare Costs NY State Thousands of Jobs

One in five manufacturers in New York said they were reducing the number of their employees due to Obamacare, according to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The survey asked businesses how the Affordable Care Act has affected them, including questions about health coverage costs, how health plans would change under Obamacare, and how the Cadillac Tax would apply to their current health care plans.

The number of manufacturers who said they were cutting jobs totaled 20.9 percent. Nearly a third of New York manufacturers said they would increase prices they charge on their customers due to Obamacare. Almost 13 percent said they would increase the proportion of employees working part-time.

The survey asked service sector firms the same questions and found that 16.8 percent of them would cut workers, 21.4 percent would raise prices due to Obamacare, and 15 percent said they would increase the proportion of employees working part-time.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Friday, August 19, 2016


Taller people tend to be conservative

One should not get too excited by this study as the effect was small.  Height is only one influence behind conservatism. The authors below explain the finding as an effect of income but fail to ask WHY taller people have higher income. I think the answer lies with temperament.  Larger people and larger dogs tend to be more placid and less aggressive.  Why that is so is one for the neurologists.

But, whatever the reason, that placidity makes taller people  easier to work with and better suited to managerial positions.  And it also explains their politics.  It is Leftists who are the discontented people.  A tall placid man, by contrast, will be by that fact alone more contented.  It is people who are fired up by some grievance who become Leftists.  Taller people are harder to motivate in that way

I append the journal abstract to the article below


If you want to guess what political party someone supports, just take a look at their height. A new study has found taller individuals are more likely to back Conservative political positions, identify with a Conservative party and vote for Conservative politicians.

Researchers studying UK voters found that just a one-inch increase in height raises the person's support for the Conservative Party by 0.6 percent and their likelihood of voting for that party by 0.5 percent.

These findings may be linked to other studies that show taller individuals generally have a higher income than those who are short in stature.

After reviewing surveys from 9,700 people, which included the person's height, income and political views, the team found that not only are taller people more likely to support the Conservative Party and vote for Conservative candidates, they are also more likely to take a Conservative position.

These findings were observed in both men and women, however it was found to be twice as strong among men.

'If you take two people with nearly identical characteristics - except one is taller than the other - on average the taller person will be more politically conservative,' said Sara Watson, co-author of the study and assistant professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

Although these results may sound strange, Watson explained they do coincide with previous studies that show taller people generally earn more than those who are shorter – which suggests the two may be linked.

Watson said they conducted the study because, while political scientists have long theorized about an income-voting relationship, studies using real-world data have shown mixed results.  Some researchers find a link, while others see little or no effect.

'We were thinking about why there were so many seemingly contradictory findings,' she said.

During the study, Watson and her team pulled data from the 2006 British Household Panel Study, which includes self-reported height, income data and questions regarding the political views of a little over 9,700 adults.

After sifting through the data, researchers found that not only are taller people more likely to support the Conservative Party and vote for Conservative candidates, they are also more likely to take a Conservative position.

Researchers explored this further by investigating whether the effect of height on political beliefs could be explained through other channels, including race, education level, marital status and religion.  However, the team found that after all these factors their initial findings were found to be true.

The researchers also took into account potential explanations such as cognition and utilization of public health care. But no matter what was controlled in the study, the link between height and voting remained.

And although the relationship between height and political views were found in both men and women, the team discovered it was twice as strong among men.

For men, each additional inch of height increased their likely hood to support a conservative by 0.8 percent, whereas women it was just 0.4 percent.

In the second portion of the study, the team used height in an 'instrumental variable strategy', a way to estimate casual relationships, to further analyze the link between income and voting.

The team found that $665 was associated with each additional height and that a 10 percent increase in income raised the likelihood of voting Conservative by about 5.5 percent.

SOURCE

Height, Income and Voting

Raj Arunachalam and Sara Watson

Abstract

The claim that income drives political preferences is at the core of political economy theory, yet empirical estimates of income’s effect on political behavior range widely. Drawing on traditions in economic history and anthropology, we propose using height as a proxy for economic well-being. Using data from the British Household Panel Study, this article finds that taller individuals are more likely to support the Conservative Party, support conservative policies and vote Conservative; a one-inch increase in height increases support for Conservatives by 0.6 per cent. As an extension, the study employs height as an instrumental variable for income, and finds that each additional thousand pounds of annual income translates into a 2–3 percentage point increase in the probability of supporting the Conservatives, and that income drives political beliefs and voting in the same direction.

British Journal of Political Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007123416000211

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Meet the Salon Owner Fighting Eyebrow Threading Regulations

In 1985, Lata Jagtiani immigrated to New York City from India with a dream to be her own boss by opening her own salon. But because money was tight, Jagtiani made ends meet by working as a bookkeeper for various New York businesses before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

While raising her two children, Jagtiani continued to dream of opening her own business. The New York weather was tough on Jagtiani and her husband, so when they had the opportunity to relocate in 1995, they headed south.

The family of four had friends in Louisiana, so Jagtiani and her husband opened a T-shirt shop on Bourbon Street, New Orleans. Although the business took care of her family’s financial needs, Jagtiani had a skill she felt the city was lacking: threading.

As a young girl, Jagtiani’s older cousin taught her the ancient Indian art of threading, a technique used to precisely remove hair with the twisting of a thread.

In 2012, Jagtiani’s dream of being her own boss was fulfilled when she opened Threading Studio & Spa in Metairie, Louisiana.

But when Jagtiani opened her studio, she wasn’t aware of the local licensing laws put in place that would restrict her from doing her job.

Louisiana threaders began the battle against costly licensing in 2010 when the state added the practice of threading under the category of esthetics, a highly regulated and licensed trade in many states. This means anyone who practices threading must acquire an esthetician’s license or face thousands of dollars in fines and unemployment.

“I opened in 2012 and I didn’t know about the regulations. It [cost] me a lot. I didn’t know I needed a license to do anything but threading. The inspectors started coming in and asking me to get a license,” Jagtiani told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

Jagtiani and former employees Ushaben Chudasama and Panna Shah are suing the Louisiana Board of Cosmetology for infringing upon their right to earn an honest living.

According to the Institute of Justice, a public interest law firm representing Jagtiani and her former employees, interpretation of the Louisiana Constitution, every citizen has the right to earn an honest living without “irrational government interference.”

Salim Furth, macroeconomics research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email:

What Louisiana ought to do instead is to elevate its basic treatment of economic rights. Whether in the right to work as a threader or the right to build on one’s own land, the state should not be able to infringe on citizens’ economic rights without proving that the government has an important interest that cannot be achieved through less intrusive means.

According to the Institute for Justice, requiring threaders to obtain an esthetician’s license “suddenly forc[ed] threaders to jump through several regulatory hoops in order to work and [made] it illegal to pursue their calling without a pointless esthetician’s license.”

“They don’t even teach threading over there. They were teaching waxing and facials, but I don’t want to do that. I want to do threading and that’s about it,” Lata Jagtiani says.

In order to receive a license, students must complete 750 hours in a cosmetology program, says the law firm. Jagtiani said these programs cost around $12,000 and take six to eight months to complete but do not teach students how to thread. “It was all science classes,” she said, disappointed in the irrelevance of her mandatory schooling.

Of the 750 hours required, approximately 250 hours “are for sanitation, health and cleanliness, and all of these other things that we must teach for people to run a healthy and clean shop,” said Stephen Young, director of the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology and a defendant in the lawsuit, according to The Associated Press.

Paul Larkin, senior legal research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview: “I cannot imagine a legitimate reason for all of the unecessary training required by Louisiana. This is a classic instance of the government abusing its authority to injure the public by protecting a cartel.”

The Louisiana Board of Cosmetology also has a conflict of interest when it comes to the local regulations, Furth argued in his email to The Daily Signal:

Louisiana shows what happens when regulation is allowed to run amok. The chair of Louisiana’s Board of Cosmetology actually owns and operates her own beauty college, so [Frances Hand] has a personal financial interest in extending the reach of cosmetology to cover more workers. Giving a businesswoman the right to regulate her own industry is pure crony capitalism. Louisiana voters should demand that customers, not industry insiders, should be in charge of regulating (or deregulating) occupations in the state.

Meagan Forbes, the attorney at the Institute for Justice representing Jagtiani, said threading is a “simple technique that just involves a simple strand of thread—it’s not invasive. There’s no skin to skin contact even between the practitioner and customer.”

Jagtiani echoed Forbes’ statement that threading is noninvasive, therefore it shouldn’t be so highly regulated. “It’s safe. Very safe,” Jagtiani said.

Furth added to the fact that an unskilled threader does not pose any threat to society. “In full disclosure, I actually had my eyebrows threaded once, purely by accident. It stings if it’s done right; an incompetent threader would just end up with a mess of string on her own hands.”

“My customers were so happy. They don’t want me to close, they want to come back to me for threading. They are so happy with threading they don’t want to do waxing. I had so many clients, and now they are so miserable,” Jagtiani said.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Thursday, August 18, 2016



Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose Taking Syrian Refugees Into the U.S.

A Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll released Monday found that just 36 percent of Americans overall said they were in favor of “accepting Syrian refugees into the United States.”

The responses reflect a partisan split, with 56 percent of Democrats and 18 percent of Republicans in favor of accepting Syrian refugees.

Support for accepting Syrian refugees has fallen overall from 42 percent in the 2014 poll. Democrat support has risen slightly from 55 to 56 percent since 2014 while Republican support has fallen from 27 to 18 percent.

The 2016 poll also asked Americans about U.S. military actions in Syria.

Overall those surveyed favored a limited amount of action. Seventy-two percent overall were in favor of conducting airstrikes against violent Islamic extremist groups and 57 percent favored sending Special Operations Forces into Syria to fight Islamic State terrorists.

Just 42 percent overall supported sending combat troops into Syria.

The 2016 Chicago Council Survey based its poll results on a national sample of 2,061 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. The poll was conducted June 10-27.

SOURCE

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Milwaukee Sheriff Clarke on Riots: ‘This Thing Has Been Hijacked for a Political End’

According to Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the riots over the weekend in Milwaukee in protest of the fatal shooting of a black man by police have “been hijacked for a political end; it’s a political construct now”

“We get our authority from the consent of the governed, if something’s bothering them we should have discussions about it. But this thing has been hijacked for a political end; it’s a political construct now. I mentioned it two years ago if you want to go back and look at some of the tapes. I said this was a political construct this whole war on police- that in fact a war on police, mirrored what had gone on in the 1960’s,” Clarke said during a press conference on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding I think in terms of what causes these situations. The police use of force serves as an igniter, there’s no doubt, but to an already volatile situation a volatile mix of urban pathologies – failed urban policy that exacerbates inescapable poverty, failing public schools, inadequate parenting, father-absent homes – we all know when fathers are not around to shape the behavior of young boys they often times grow up to be unmanageable misfits that the police have to deal with in an aggressive fashion,” Clarke said.

“Pathologies like, lifestyle choices – questionable lifestyle choices, gang involvement, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as massive unemployment – those are the ingredients those are the things that cause resentment, anger and frustration to boil beneath the surface then all of a sudden a police situation comes along and that’s why I said it’s an igniter, but it’s an igniter to an already festering situation.”

Clarke later added, that failing to punish criminals leads to a repeat of criminal behavior.

“Just about everybody in this room has heard me over the last five years minimum-talking about the role of the criminal justice system. The prosecutor’s office, the sentencing practices in this area of Milwaukee County and – I don’t know I guess people didn’t think it played a big role – but we’re seeing it now. Not just last night but we’re seeing it time and time again - when some individual goes out and does something heinous, we look and they have a long, lengthy criminal history that nobody applied any sanctions to – or any meaningful sanctions let’s put it that way. Maybe some sanctions – a slap on the wrist – but that’s not meaningful.

As I look, the individual that lost his life- 13 arrests. Some serious stuff. Recklessly endangering safety, that’s a felony first degree. Felony – dismissed -  I don’t know why, I don’t have the reason but somebody- it isn’t going to be me- if you all have an interest you’ll go back and start peeling back the layers to find out what happened.”

“You punish unwanted behavior you’ll see less of it. If you do nothing about unwanted behavior you’re going to see a repeat of more of it,” Clarke said.

SOURCE

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Beginning of the End: The ‘Un’Affordable Care Act Continues to Unravel

Obamacare banner hangs torn on the side of a building. (AP Photo)
Health plan companies left and right are seriously questioning their involvement in Obamacare or dropping out altogether. And these are heavy hitters—UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Aetna and some Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. Cooperatives established under the law are collapsing as well. Just seven of the 23 remain.

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) points to these occurrences as the beginning of the end—the unraveling of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama’s legacy act is in deep trouble.

These departures are the “tremors” before the earthquake, the total implosion of Obamacare. Now it’s time to repeal the law and head back to health freedom.

Insurance companies will issue double-digit premium increases this fall, on or around Nov. 1, when Obamacare enrollment begins again. And of special note—premium increases and open enrollment will come just a week before the election.

The impending expiration of two of the federal “3R” subsidy programs that were instituted to shield health plans from the high cost of adding uninsured people with pre-existing conditions—reinsurance and risk corridors—is one reason premiums will skyrocket. Some politicians want to establish a national government insurance company—the public option—and some insurers suggest Congress create permanent federal subsidies to keep them in the game, but isn’t it time we go back to the affordability of freedom and free markets?

This is where CCHF’s new initiative, The Wedge of Health Freedom (www.JointheWedge.com), comes in.

The Wedge restores affordability and patient-centered care and is a new way of doing health care that puts patients and doctors in control and makes affordable pricing available to the insured, the uninsured and the subsidized.

Wedge-like practices are already operating nationwide but many Americans don’t know about them. So CCHF is branding this affordable option as The Wedge of Health Freedom to draw the public’s attention to the patient-centered, freedom-embracing slice of American health care that is mostly invisible to the public today. We aim to make The Wedge visible, protect it and grow it. The Wedge, focused on the delivery of care, will let patients and doctors come together in an affordable, confidential relationship that benefits both of them.

SOURCE

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Perhaps the Ancients Weren’t So Dumb: A Flood of Evidence Is Embarrassing the ‘Experts’

Were the ancients dummies? If so, why does archaeology keep confirming what they wrote? I’ll tell you why a healthy dose of humility can help us understand the past.

In his conversion story, “Surprised by Joy,” C. S. Lewis explains how his close friend, Owen Barfield, demolished his “chronological snobbery.” Lewis defined chronological snobbery as “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate of our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that count discredited.”

In Lewis’s time, much of academia was already convinced that every past generation formed a staircase of progress, leading (of course) to enlightened modernity. And since Lewis’s death, many intellectuals have only become more convinced of their own perch at the pinnacle of history. These days, we barely even notice the snobbery.

But it’s time to notice, especially in archaeology. An article last week in The New York Times describes new evidence for the Chinese great flood, an event which ancient records say coincided with the rise of China’s first imperial dynasty. For many years, Western academics have considered this flood a myth—on par with Noah’s Flood in Genesis which, unsurprisingly, they also dismiss as fiction.

But several new dig sites have unearthed inscriptions that refer to just such a flood along the Yellow River, almost 4,000 years ago. And a team of geologists led by Qinglog Wu of Peking University in Beijing says they’ve found evidence in the rocks of a natural dam that trapped several cubic miles of water. When the dam collapsed, it sent a deluge downriver large enough to wipe out a civilization—just as the Chinese legends suggest.

Western experts were less than enthused at the news. The Times quotes several prominent archaeologists who scoff at the discoveries as attempts to read too much into Chinese myths. Dr. Paul Goldin of the University of Pennsylvania derides what he sees as a “fixation” among Chinese archaeologists with “[proving] that all the ancient texts and legends have some fundamental truth … It shouldn’t be every archaeologist’s first instinct,” he says, “to see if their findings are matched in the historical sources.”

Come again? Shouldn’t archaeologists want to know if what they’re digging up has significance in known history? Sadly for many in the West, the answer is a resounding “not really.” This dismissal of ancient writings—including the Bible—is rooted in chronological snobbery. The ancients, experts today assume, were just too dumb or superstitious to get their own histories right.

This attitude has not only blinded us to potential discoveries, it’s made it very embarrassing for archaeologists when the ancients do turn out to be correct. I think, for example, of the recent discovery of Goliath’s hometown, Gath. Or what about the unearthing of evidence for the biblical King Hezekiah, the likely discovery of the palace where Pilate tried Jesus, or the compelling evidence that “the house of David,” contrary to decades of secular scholarship, was founded by a real, historical man after God’s own heart?

All of these discoveries came as shocks to archaeologists and historians who doubted that such figures, places, or people ever existed. But again and again, our belief that the ancients were better at making myths than they were at recording history has handicapped archaeology, and left a lot of smart folks scraping egg off their faces.

Now, I’m not suggesting every legend is a history textbook, or even that Scripture renders archaeology superfluous. What I’m suggesting is that we set aside our chronological snobbery and stop dismissing the ancients out-of-hand.

They were not dummies. And we who dig up the remains of their civilizations aren’t always as clever as we like to believe.

SOURCE

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A libertarian gun-hater??

Libertarians normally view the right to bear arms as an important liberty.  How come then the current Libertarian Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, threw straight into the trash a historic pistol that was given to him?  A libertarian vote is normally a wasted vote but that is doubly true this time.  Story here

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There is no evidence that Aristotle actually said this but the American Left seems to be trying all-out to prove it right anyway



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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016



Wealth Tax Looms As Greeks Forced To Declare All 'Assets' To Tax Authority

The USA is only a little behind Greece in heavy debt usage so Greece may offer a vision of what is in all our futures

In Greece's ongoing collapse into utter farce, The Greek finance ministry confirmed some more details of the long-planned registration of all kinds of private wealth that will go into effect in February 2017. As KeepTalkingGreece reports, more than 8,500,000 tax payers registered in Greece will be called to declare all moveable and immovable assets, their total “wealth”, and even cash they possess even if it is below 100 euro.

Furthermore, the taxpayers will have to register changes in their assets when they occur and not annually.

And under the new scheme, Greeks are mandated to have registered everything they own, with taxpayers having to add moveable and immovable possessions such as paintings, antiques, jewelry, even historical weapon, etc but also the cash they have in their wallets or under the mattress.

“Taxpayers must declare all the cash they have in their hands, even one euro!” an official from the Finance Ministry told newspaper To Vima on conditions of anonymity.

Within a month, the taxpayer will have to submit a modification statement, if there are any changes in his possessions status.

"This will affect any case of property transfer or acquisition, but not of income, which is being declared each year, and are directly updated by the tax authorities.

The simple question every Greek (and European and American and Japanese) citizen should be asking - why does the government want to know this? ...and besides what gives them the right to invade the citizenry's privacy to such a degree?

The answer is sadly simple. The road the dystopian "wealth tax" endgame has been long-written. As we pointed out in 2011, the "muddle through" is dead... and there are only painful ways out... And now it is time to face the facts. What facts?

The facts which state that between household, corporate and government debt, the developed world has more than $20 trillion in debt over and above the sustainable threshold by the definition of "stable" debt to GDP of 180%.

The facts according to which all attempts to eliminate the excess debt have failed, and for now even the Fed's relentless pursuit of inflating our way out this insurmountable debt load have been for nothing.

The facts which state that the only way to resolve the massive debt load is through a global coordinated debt restructuring (which would, among other things, push all global banks into bankruptcy) which, when all is said and done, will have to be funded by the world's financial asset holders: the middle-and upper-class, which, if BCS is right, have a ~30% one-time tax on all their assets to look forward to as the great mean reversion finally arrives and the world is set back on a viable path.

But not before the biggest episode of "transitory" pain, misery and suffering in the history of mankind. Good luck, politicians and holders of financial assets, you will need it because after Denial comes Anger, and only long after does Acceptance finally arrive.

The truth is far, far uglier than anything anyone in a position of power will tell you because acknowledgment would imply the need to come up with solutions that involve more than merely extending the event horizon for a little longer. Alas, even politicians now realize there is only so far that the can can be kicked.

There is one thing we would like to bring to our readers' attention because we are confident, that one way or another, sooner or later, it will be implemented.

Namely a one-time wealth tax: in other words, instead of stealth inflation, the government will be forced to proceed with over transfer of wealth. According to BCG, the amount of developed world debt between household, corporate and government that needs to be eliminated is just over $21 trillion. Which unfortunately means that there is an equity shortfall that will have to be funded with incremental cash which will have to come from somewhere. That somewhere is tax of the middle and upper classes, which are in possession of $74 trillion in financial assets

SOURCE

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IRS Increases 'Marriage Penalty,' Unmarried Cohabitants To Get Twice The Mortgage Interest Deduction

There are a thousand good reasons to never get married: in-laws, divorce attorneys, and the inevitable ravages of age on one’s attractiveness come immediately to mind.

But there are also significant tax hits that come with getting hitched, or as they’ve collectively been coined, the “marriage penalty.” For example, the 28% tax bracket kicks in at $91,150 of income if you’re single, but at only $151,900 — an amount basic math tells you is less than double $91,150 — for married taxpayers. In addition, single taxpayers start to lose 3% of itemized deductions when adjusted gross income exceeds $258,250; married taxpayers, however, will lose itemized deductions once adjusted gross income exceeds only $309,900.

Late last week, the IRS exacerbated the marriage penalty by offering a very large reward for unmarried taxpayers who co-own a home: double the mortgage interest deduction available to married taxpayer.

In AOD 2016-02, the IRS acquiesced in the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Sophy v. Commissioner, in which the appeals court overturned a Tax Court decision and allowed a same-sex, unmarried, co-habiting couple to each deduct the mortgage interest on $1.1 million of acquisition and home equity debt. In reaching its conclusion, the Ninth Circuit determined that the mortgage interest limitation is meant to apply on a per-taxpayer, rather than a per-residence, basis. The AOD issued by the IRS confirms that the Service will follow this treatment.

Let’s take a look at what this means:

Mortgage Interest Deductions, In General

Section 163(h)(3) allows a deduction for qualified residence interest on up to $1,000,000 of acquisition indebtedness and $100,000 of home equity indebtedness. Should your mortgage balance (or balances, since the mortgage interest deduction is permitted on up to two homes) exceed the statutory limitations, the mortgage interest deduction is limited to the amount applicable to only $1,100,000 worth of debt.

Now assume for a moment that you and your non-spouse lifemate/bookie/Japanese body pillow go halfsies on your dream house, owning the home as joint tenants. And assume the total acquisition mortgage debt is $2,000,000 and the total home equity loan $200,000, making total debt $2,200,000, with each of you paying interest on only your $1,100,000 share of the debt.

Are each of you entitled to a full mortgage deduction — since you each paid interest on only $1,100,000 of debt, the maximum allowable under Section 163 — or is your mortgage deduction limited because the total debt on the house exceeds the $1,100,000 statutory limitation?

In 2012, the Tax Court concluded that the answer was the latter. In Sophy v. Commissioner, this issue was surprisingly addressed for the first time in the courts (it had previously been addressed with a similar conclusion in CCA 200911007), with the Tax Court holding that the $1,100,000 limitation must be applied on a per-residence basis.

Thus, in the above example, even though the joint tenants each paid mortgage interest on only the maximum allowable $1,100,000 of debt, each owner’s mortgage interest deduction would be limited under the holding in Sophy because the maximum amount of qualified residence debt on the house — regardless of the number of owners — is limited to $1,100,000. Assuming the joint tenants each paid $70,000 in interest, each owner’s limitation would be determined as follows:

$70,000 * $1,100,000 (statutory limitation)/$2,200,000 (total mortgage balance) = $35,000

Instead of each owner being entitled to a full $70,000 interest deduction, the Tax Court concluded that the mortgage interest deduction was limited for both because the total debt on the house exceeded the statutory limits. The court reached this conclusion after examining the structure of the statute and determining that the plain language required the applicable debt limitation to be applied on a per-residence basis:

Qualified residence interest is defined as “any interest which is paid or accrued during the taxable year on acquisition indebtedness with respect to any qualified residence of the taxpayer, or home equity indebtedness with respect to any qualified residence of the taxpayer.” Sec. 163(h)(3)(A)

The court then added, “The definitions of the terms ‘acquisition indebtedness’ and ‘home equity indebtedness’ establish that the indebtedness must be related to a qualified residence, and the repeated use of the phrases “with respect to a qualified residence” and “with respect to such residence” in the provisions discussed above focuses on the residence rather than the taxpayer.

In an illustration of how multiple smart people can look at the same set of facts and reach a different conclusion, late last year the Ninth Circuit reversed the Tax Court’s holding, deciding instead that the $1,100,000 limitation on qualified debt is determined on a per-taxpayer, rather than a per-residence basis.

Key to the Ninth Circuit’s decision was the statute’s treatment of married taxpayers who file separate returns for purposes of deducting mortgage interest. Section 163(h)(3) provides that “in the case of” a married taxpayer who files a separate return, the $1,000,000 limit on qualified residence interest and $100,000 of home equity interest are reduced to $500,000 and $50,000 respectively. The Ninth Circuit placed great emphasis on the use of the phrase “in the case of,” noting that it suggests an exception to the general limitations, and that aside from that specific exception, married taxpayers filing separately should be treated identically to married taxpayers under Section 163.

The statute gives each separately filing spouse a separate debt limit of $550,000 so that, together, the two spouses are effectively entitled to a $1.1 million debt, the same amount allowed for single taxpayers. Thus, the point of the language was to treat two married taxpayers who file separately the same as married taxpayers or a single taxpayer, which indicates that the limitations are to be applied on a per-taxpayer, rather than a per-residence basis.

Lastly, the court reasoned that if the limitation is to be applied on a per-residence basis, there would be no need to impose a 1/2 limitation on married couples filing separately. If the limit were indeed intended to be $1,100,000 per house, then married couples who live together but file separately would be forced to split the limit; there would be no need to add additional language to the statute to accomplish that result. If the $1,100,000 limitation is to be applied on a per-taxpayer, basis, however, the limiting language would serve a purpose, as it would prevent a married couple who files separately from deducting interest on a total of $2,200,000 and get twice the benefit of a married couple who files jointly.

Impact

The impact of Sophy and the Service’s subsequent acquiescence are a bit muted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Windsor and its 2015 ruling in Obergfell, which together represent a seismic shift in the treatment of same-sex couples for federal tax purposes. Going forward, same-sex couples who are legally married under state law will no longer be forced to file as unmarried taxpayers; rather, any couple that is married under state law, same-sex or otherwise, will only be permitted to file married filing jointly or married filing separately. In other words: same-sex couples — welcome to the marriage penalty!!

Cohabitation, of course, is not limited to same-sex couples, and so the Service’s decision to allow each taxpayer who co-owns a house to claim an interest deduction on the full $1,100,000 of debt — provided they are not married filing separately — should be a welcome one for many.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016



The abandonment of traditional values has negatively affected the nation as a whole, but blacks have borne the greater burden

Walter E. Williams

One of the unavoidable consequences of youth is the tendency to think behavior we see today has always been. I’d like to dispute that vision, at least as it pertains to black people.

I graduated from Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School in 1954. Franklin’s predominantly black students were from the poorest North Philadelphia neighborhoods.

During those days, there were no policemen patrolling the hallways. Today, close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools. There were occasional after-school fights—rumbles, as we called them—but within the school, there was order. In contrast with today, students didn’t use foul language to teachers, much less assault them.

Places such as the Richard Allen housing project, where I lived, became some of the most dangerous and dysfunctional places in Philadelphia. Mayhem—in the form of murders, shootings, and assaults—became routine.

By the 1980s, residents found that they had to have window bars and multiple locks. The 1940s and ’50s Richard Allen project, as well as other projects, bore no relation to what they became. Many people never locked their doors; windows weren’t barred. We did not go to bed with the sound of gunshots. Most of the residents were two-parent families with one or both parents working.

How might one explain the greater civility of Philadelphia and other big-city, predominantly black neighborhoods and schools during earlier periods compared with today? Would anyone argue that during the ’40s and ’50s, there was less racial discrimination and poverty? Was academic performance higher because there were greater opportunities? Was civility in school greater in earlier periods because black students had more black role models in the form of black principals, teachers, and guidance counselors? That’s nonsense, at least in northern schools. In my case, I had no more than three black teachers throughout primary and secondary school.

Starting in the 1960s, the values that made for civility came under attack. Corporal punishment was banned. This was the time when the education establishment and liberals launched their agenda that undermined lessons children learned from their parents and the church.

We have replaced what worked with what sounds good.

Sex education classes undermined family/church strictures against premarital sex. Lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passé, and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills, and abortion. Further undermining of parental authority came with legal and extralegal measures to assist teenage abortions, often with neither parental knowledge nor parental consent.

Customs, traditions, moral values, and rules of etiquette are behavioral norms, transmitted mostly by example, word of mouth, and religious teachings. As such, they represent a body of wisdom distilled through the ages by experience and trial and error.

The nation’s liberals—along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals, and the courts—have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many people have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what’s moral or immoral is a matter of personal convenience, personal opinion, what feels good, or what is or is not criminal.

We no longer condemn or shame self-destructive and rude behavior, such as out-of-wedlock pregnancies, dependency, cheating, and lying. We have replaced what worked with what sounds good.

The abandonment of traditional values has negatively affected the nation as a whole, but blacks have borne the greater burden. This is seen by the decline in the percentage of black two-parent families. Today, a little over 30 percent of black children live in an intact family, where as early as the late 1800s, over 70 percent did. Black illegitimacy in 1938 was 11 percent, and that for whites was 3 percent. Today, it’s respectively 73 percent and 30 percent.

It is the height of dishonesty, as far as blacks are concerned, to blame our problems on slavery, how white people behave, and racial discrimination. If those lies are not exposed, we will continue to look for external solutions when true solutions are internal. Those of us who are old enough to know better need to expose these lies.

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What Can Racial Discrimination Explain?

Walter E. Williams

A guiding principle for physicians is primum non nocere, the Latin expression for “first, do no harm.” In order not to do harm, whether it’s with medicine or with public policy, the first order of business is accurate diagnostics.

Racial discrimination is seen as the cause of many problems of black Americans. No one argues that racial discrimination does not exist or does not have effects. The relevant question, as far as policy and resource allocation are concerned, is: How much of what we see is caused by current racial discrimination?

From the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, black youth unemployment was slightly less than or equal to white youth unemployment. Today, black youth unemployment is at least double that of white youth unemployment. Would anyone try to explain the difference with the argument that there was less racial discrimination during the ’40s and ’50s than today?

Some argue that it is the “legacy of slavery” and societal racism that now explain the social pathology in many black neighborhoods. Today’s black illegitimacy rate is about 73 percent. When I was a youngster, during the 1940s, illegitimacy was around 15 percent.

In the same period, about 80 percent of black children were born inside marriage. In fact, historian Herbert Gutman, in an article titled “Persistent Myths about the Afro-American Family” in The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Autumn 1975), reported the percentage of black two-parent families, depending on the city, ranged from 75 to 90 percent.

Today, only a little over 30 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households. The importance of these and other statistics showing greater stability and less pathology among blacks in earlier periods is that they put a lie to today’s excuses. Namely, at a time when blacks were closer to slavery, faced far more discrimination, faced more poverty, and had fewer opportunities, there was not the kind of social pathology and weak family structure we see today.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, nationally, the average black 12th-grader’s test scores are either basic or below basic in reading, writing, math, and science.

“Below basic” is the score received when a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level. “Basic” indicates only partial mastery. Put another way, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader. In some cities, there’s even a larger achievement gap.

Is this a result of racial discrimination? Hardly. The cities where black academic achievement is the lowest are the very cities where Democrats have been in charge for decades and where blacks have been mayors, city councilors, superintendents, school principals, and teachers. Plus, these cities have large educational budgets.

I am not arguing a causal relationship between black political control and poor performance. I am arguing that one would be hard put to blame the academic rot on racial discrimination. If the Ku Klux Klan wanted to destroy black academic achievement, it could not find a better means for doing so than encouraging the educational status quo in most cities.

Intellectuals and political hustlers who blame the plight of so many blacks on poverty, racial discrimination, and the “legacy of slavery” are complicit in the socio-economic and moral decay. But one can earn money, prestige, and power in the victimhood game.

As Booker T. Washington long ago observed, “there is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs—partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

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Compensating Differences

By Walter E. Williams

What economists call an ability to make "compensating differences" is a valuable tool in everyone's arsenal. If people are prohibited from doing so, they are always worse off. You say, "Williams, I never heard of compensating differences. What are they?"

Jimmy Soul's 1963 hit song, "If You Wanna Be Happy," explained the concept of compensating differences. His lyrics went: "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife. So from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you." His point was that an ugly woman would treat you better. But more importantly, a less attractive woman's willingness to compensate for her differences enables her to effectively compete with a pretty woman.

It goes the other way around, too. I've presented people with the following scenario: Suppose you saw a fat, ugly cigar-smoking old man married to a beautiful young woman. What kind of prediction would you make about the man's income? Everybody I've asked guesses that he would have a high income. The fat, ugly cigar-smoking old man would essentially be telling the beautiful young woman, "I can't compete for your hand the same way a guy like Williams can, so I'm going to offset my handicap by offering you a higher price."

Some might view it as unfair that a fat, ugly cigar-smoking old man could not win a pretty woman's hand on the same terms as a handsome man. Suppose they enacted a law saying beautiful women cannot treat fat, ugly cigar-smoking old men any differently than they treat handsome men. Then what would happen to the probability of a fat, ugly cigar-smoking old man's marrying a beautiful woman? Most people would guess that it would go to zilch. What the law would do would be to remove the less preferred man's most effective tool for competing with the more preferred man.

There are many real-world examples of compensating differences. Full-fledged doctors receive hourly pay that ranges between $80 and $157. A brand-new intern earns about $34 an hour. What do you think would happen to a hospital's willingness to hire an intern if there were a minimum hourly wage for interns of, say, $60, $70 or $100? There would be less willingness. Worse, there would be reduced learning opportunities for brand-new doctors. Worse still is that a hospital administrator would say, "If I must pay that higher minimum hourly wage no matter whom I hire, I might as well hire the most qualified." Thus, the higher minimum hourly wage would discriminate against the employment and skills acquisition of the least skilled intern.

During the 1930s, '40s and '50s, one could not prevent whole neighborhoods in the north from going from white to black occupancy virtually overnight. This was before government anti-discrimination laws related to housing. You might wonder how poor, discriminated-against people managed to seize the land-use control of neighborhoods. They did it through the market mechanism. For example, there might have been a racially discriminatory landlord who rented his three-story brown stone building to a white family for $100 a month. Maybe six black families approached the owner with the proposition that if he cut the building up into six apartments, each family would pay him $50 a month. That would mean that he could earn $300 a month renting to blacks rather than $100 renting to a white family. The evidence suggests that landlords opted for the higher earnings. Black people simply outbid white families.

Compensating differences abound. Even though chuck steak is less preferred, it outsells filet mignon. Less-preferred Toyotas compete effectively with Mercedes-Benzes. Costume jewelry competes with fine jewelry. In each, the lower price compensates for the difference. You might say, "Williams, people are not cars, steaks or jewelry!" That's true, but they respond to the same economic laws as cars, steaks and jewelry — just as people would obey the law of gravity the same way bricks would if they fell off the Empire State Building.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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